Jesus Once Was a Little Child: Sway and Freeze for Younger Children

Move with the children to the song? Check!

Cross the midline multiple times to help development? Check!

Feel the beat and meter of the song in their body? Check!

Have fun together with the song? Check!


Jesus Once Was a Little Child

Was Jesus ever a child like you or you or you? Yes!


Tell the children:

Can your hands follow my hands? (Begin to sway your arms back and forth across the front of your body.)

YouTube Video – Jesus Once Was A Little Child – Sway and Freeze

Occasionally at the end of the phrase, call out “freeze” and have your children check to see if their hands are pointing the same way that your hands are pointing, and their legs are the same as yours.  (This helps to keep them focused, and gives a chance for self assessment to see if they are doing the motions.)


Sway and Sing again, this time telling the children you will leave out a word and they will sing the missing word.  I would leave out the rhyming words (me, be, I, try).  Make a big deal out of stopping right on the word they need to fill in, then when they sing or say it, continue singing.


This is an activity that helps FEEL the sway of the music, FEEL the beat, FEEL the smooth connected notes of the melody, and it crosses the midline to engage both sides of the brain.  And it is fun!


16 Responses

  1. Carli

    Hi! The link for the YouTube video posted in this entry isn’t working.

    Thanks for all your hard work!

  2. Jessica

    Love it! I love the dancing with it! I was crossing the midline of the body, too, using Brain Gym Activities by Edu-Kinesthetics, Inc. Thank you!

  3. Yolanda

    Hello Sharla!
    I am loving your blog. Thank you for sharing your talents. I read in a comment that you would post about transitions. I am very interested and would love some direction with transitions. Will you be posting ideas for 2019 songs?
    Thanks again!

    • Sharla Dance

      Transitions is the time between one activity to teach a song and another activity. It is where you can lose the children’s attention easily because they lose focus on a challenge or their curious nature is not awakened. I move quickly from one activity straight into the challenge of another contrasting activity. I think that is best shown in one of the videos that are on sale for past years.

      And yes, I am posting ideas for the 2019 songs little by little! Thanks for asking!

  4. Carolyn Mildenhall

    I’m a brand new chorister with lots to learn! Thanks for your tips and suggestions!

  5. Marie Hyer

    Hello. I know I have not received several of your latest posts via email, although it says my email IS already in your “que.” perhaps you can check for me? I learn a lot from your posts. Thanks. Marie

    • Sharla Dance

      My emails have been sparse since starting the 145 voice children’s choir this September. I will get some out to all! Thanks for the heads up!

  6. Ra

    Absolutely brilliant! The simplicity is powerful and perfect for what we need. Thank you so much!

  7. Mary Kaelin

    The video of you swaying to the this song cuts off when I watch it just before the chorus (so, little children…) and goes on to the next youtube video. Im dying to know your actions for the rest of the song!!!! 🙂

    • Sharla Dance

      Dear Mary, I continue with the swaying and freezing…sometimes in different spots so the children have to stay focused to stay with me. Thanks for asking!

  8. Jan Richards

    Your ideas sound amazing and I would love to receive your posts for the 2019 songs please 😉

  9. 12 Purposeful Movement Activities for Singing Time

    […] For this activity, you’ll swing your arms from side to side, following the flow and rhythm of the song. You can freeze in place on those long notes you hold. This idea is from Sharla Dance’s website, which is an amazing resource! You can see her demonstrating Sway and Freeze in this post! […]

  10. Jennifer Nichols

    Thanks for so many great ideas! You have helped me in my calling so much:)

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